- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Brad Staubitz's second-period goal sent the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Staubitz's goal on a shot from right wing at 8:21 of the second proved to be the winner as it gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead that held up after 40 minutes before a Vancouver rally fell short in the third.
The Ducks improved to 30-11-6 in their final road game of the regular season.
The loss ended Vancouver's home win streak at nine games as their record dropped to 26-14-7. The Canucks finished with a 15-6-3 home mark.
Matt Beleskey, also in the second period, and Andrew Cogliano, with a short-handed empty-netter in the final minute of the third, scored for the Ducks.
Jason Garrison scored for the Canucks during a 5-on-3 power play late in the third period.
The Ducks outshot the Canucks 30-29, but the margin was close only after Vancouver sent 20 at Jonas Hiller in the third period.
The Ducks converted 1 of 3 power-play attempts while the Canucks were 1 for 4.
Anaheim had already clinched the Pacific Division title and the second playoff seed in the Western Conference while the Canucks had locked down their fifth straight Northwest crown and the third seed behind Anaheim. So the game had the importance — and look — of an exhibition contest.
Despite resting key players, the Ducks controlled play against a Vancouver squad that used most of its regulars but delivered a dreadful performance. Anaheim outshot the Canucks 25-9 in the first two periods, but were often stymied by goaltender Roberto Luongo, who posted 27 saves in what might have been his last home start in Vancouver.
He got the start after Cory Schneider was injured in Monday's win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has declined to disclose the exact nature, or full extent, of Schneider's injury.
Vigneault indicated a day earlier that Luongo could have started anyway, because he wants two goaltenders to be ready for the playoffs.
Schneider, who displaced Luongo as the starter in last spring's playoffs, is expected to be Vancouver's postseason starter.
The Canucks are expected to move Luongo via trade or a contract buyout in the offseason after they were unable to swing a deal at the trade deadline or last summer.
Luongo made his first start at home since March 18, when he allowed three goals in a loss to Minnesota. Thursday's game marked only his third start and fourth appearance in 19 games since then.
He had not won a home game since March 14 against Nashville. But he was sharp in the first period as the Ducks outshot the Canucks 11-5 in the first period.
In the early going, he stopped a Cogliano backhand and later foiled Kyle Palmieri on two separate occasions, first on a backhand and then on a snap shot.
In the final three minutes, Luongo stopped Staubitz after he intercepted pass at Vancouver's blueline and broke in on net, and denied Corey Perry from in close after he outraced a pair of Canucks defensemen to a puck lobbed from Anaheim's zone.
Luongo stopped Daniel Winnik in the first minute of the second period after a giveaway by Canucks center Ryan Kesler.
Later, Luongo stopped Palmieri again, this time from the side of the net, leaving the Duck shaking his head in frustration.
The Canucks goaltender also came up big as he denied Winnik again on a short-handed rush after the Duck's pass ricocheted off Alex Burrow's stick. Burrows was back filling in for Alex Edler as the Vancouver defenseman was caught up ice and tried in vain to hold Winnik.
Edler received a holding penalty, and Beleskey deflected in Cam Fowler's shot during the ensuing power play at 6:44 of the second period. Staubitz put the Ducks ahead 2-0 less than two minutes later and his wrist shot from right wing appeared to hit Vancouver defenseman Andrew Alberts' stick and change direction.
The goal was the first of the season for Staubitz, who had sat out of his club's past 13 games as a healthy scratch.
The Ducks held a 14-4 shots advantage in the middle period. The Canucks doubled their shot total to 18 from nine in the first eight minutes of the third period, but could not beat Hiller until a pair of Anaheim penalties enabled Garrison to blast home a shot with less than four minutes left.
Notes: Schneider took most valuable player honors in Canucks team awards handed out before the game. ... Anaheim veterans Teemu Selanne, the oldest player in the NHL at 42, and Saku Koivu, 38, were rested along with captain Ryan Getzlaf in advance of the playoffs. Meanwhile, winger Bobby Ryan was out with the flu and had gone back to Anaheim on Wednesday. ... Goaltender Joe Cannata, 23, dressed for his first NHL game as he served as Luongo's backup after being called up from Chicago of the AHL a day earlier. ... Defenseman Derek Joslin played his first game for Vancouver after being called up from the minors April 17. ... Vancouver's Keith Ballard, usually a defenseman, played wing — a move that Vigneault is looking at continuing in the playoffs.